Laser Hair Removal Q&A

By Pacific Derm on March 3 2012

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With spring around the corner, many people start thinking about preparing for the summer and barer skin. This is the time of year when our clinic receives the most inquiries and bookings for laser hair removal. Below are a few of the more common questions about laser hair removal that we receive from our patients.

Q: I have blonde hair on my legs. Why can’t I get laser hair removal?

A: Blonde, along with gray or white hair, is less responsive to laser hair removal because of the lack of ample pigment (colour) in the hair. In laser hair removal, the beam of the laser passes through your skin and is absorbed by the pigment of the hair.  The energy, passing down the hair shaft, is absorbed by the hair.  The hairs that are in the active growth phase will be disabled. So the less pigment in the hair, the harder it is for most laser systems to target and remove the hair.

Q: Can laser hair removal treat ingrown hairs?

A: Yes. Laser hair removal is one of the few successful remedies for ingrown hairs. However, unlike exfoliation and using specialty skin products, laser hair removal provides a long-term solution. Laser hair removal actually targets the ingrown hairs and destroys them at their root, preventing the recurrence of ingrown hairs.

Q: I had laser hair removal years ago. Why has some of the hair grown back?

A: Laser hair removal isn’t guaranteed to be permanent – don’t let someone tell you otherwise! Our bodies are constantly changing, and there are many factors, including aging and hormones, that can cause new hair growth.

Another possible reason for the hair growth is that you didn’t receive enough laser treatments to reach and disable all of the hair follicles in that area of the body. Hair grows at different rates through three phases. Since hair follicles in the dormant phase are not affected by the treatment, multiple sessions are needed to ensure we reach all of the hair.

Q: I hear laser hair removal is really painful. What can I take to reduce the pain?

A: It’s true that some older laser systems can make the treatment quite uncomfortable, so patients would rely on a combination of topical anesthetic (applied in advance of treatment) along with an over-the-counter pain reliever. However, newer laser systems with very advanced technology such as the LightSheer Duet create minimal discomfort the majority of patients forgo any anesthetic.

How is this possible? The LightSheer Duet in particular has vacuum-assisted technology which gently pulls the skin taut and brings the hair closer to the treatment head surface. The vacuum’s suction ‘fools’ nerve endings in the skin into perceiving less pain, while at the same time providing deeper penetration and more efficient treatment of the hair follicle (another benefit: treatment time is four times faster).

If you have other questions or are unsure if laser hair removal is the right treatment for your needs, contact us for a free consultation.